A Lesson in History - 16mm animated film 10 mins

A Lesson in History started as a response to a student brief and was developed for a BBC 2 commission.  It used materials from a variety of sources including a newspaper article from the Voice Newspaper announcing the launch of Black History Month in October 1987.  The Walter Rodney bookshop was a local and valuable place to find visual material as was New Beacon books.  Remnants from the original artefacts are documented below as stills.  They are references to photographs taken of statues bought from the Africa Centre when it was in Covent Garden. These images have become an archive that recall the different locations visited and echo the question posed from the outset.  Archives that included the International Defence and Aid Fund for Southern Africa,  The Schomberg Centre for research in Black Culture  and what is now Friends of the Huntley Archives at LMA.  

Composite image of hand drawn cut-out referencing Aaron Douglas's art alongside masks found in an archive and magazine. The background image was taken from an unidentified magazine.

An excerpt from the film can be accessed here.

Additional images are available on request.

Found photographs from magazines (possibly Marie Claire) was animated above an image laid onto a sheet of glass.


Using magazines as a background texture was time-saving and ideal for creating a sense of depth.

Photocopies from The Schomberg Centre of research in Black Culture were animated together with a set of photographs of a statue from the Africa Centre.  

This composition recreates a scene from the film.  Each element was animated across different layers of glass set under a rostrum camera.

When We Worked at Raleigh (R&D)

A research and development commission working with Nottingham Black Archive and Primary.  A set of audio recordings produced a set of responses.  These were created as texts, listening sessions and use of my personal archive.  The interview selected as a direct reference can be found here on Soundcloud's website.

Traces of a gestural accent (video still)

Using personal archival material, video recordings of people in discussion formed part of the installation in my show Attention Absorption.  Following on from the research and development phase, a number of visual sources generated new animations.  They were constructed as a result of listening to the audio recordings and journal notes.  Some of these reference materials can be found here on Primary's website.

Towards the Screen  (3D scan in production)

Hundreds of photographs were taken to produce a 3D model.  It formed one of three images from the installation 'Towards the Screen'.  This render of Bettina Wallace who worked at the Raleigh factory in Nottingham accompanied a photographic portrait taken by Vanley Burke, an artist and pioneer in photography.

video documentation by Freddy Griffiths can be accessed here.

In conversation - Pirate Radio stations.  This is an excerpt from this broken piece of yard (Ed. Cairo Clarke). The publication can be purchased here.

Hi Cairo, 

I've attached a JBC Radio session from the 1980s (coincidently, it's the station raided in The Last Pirates documentary. The testimonies posted on YT are such a wonderful additional account https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NPmtlGPZnTU).  Unfortunately I can't remember the year I recorded the show/s. My organic system of naming cassettes means I'll have to play all of them in real time to find the radio recordings among the vinyl recordings.  I think that is apt.  Among the licensed and official are the pirates and out of hours peripheral sounds we continue to map the occupied spaces. These JBC sessions have a female presence throughout that I have become more aware of since our discussions.  I think that is what gets lost in the absence of dialogue. I've let the women disappear in between the male voices because they're ever present.  

Our email exchanges provided a way to think together by using archives as personal and political productions of space. They took place over several months during the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020/21.  As Cairo notes in her introductory text, "The process of this exchange was extremely significant to us both and has informed our meanderings outside of the thread."  (Clarke, 2022, p45)

Hi Cairo, 

Many thanks for sending me the link. I'm looking forward to listening to the show. 

I picked up some vinyl from my local car boot today. It's a long neglected project that is a form of extending black bodies in space. The inscriptions are such a familiar sight.

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